Craig Fleming hopes his young players can show what they’re capable of, as Southampton’s Barclays Under-18 Premier League play-off fixtures get under way on Saturday.
Fleming’s side welcome Swansea City this weekend – a team they beat away from home and lost to at Staplewood earlier in the regular season – looking to make a positive start to their end-of-season play-offs.
With fresh challenges against the likes of Manchester United and Newcastle United, Fleming says the next seven games will provide next year’s scholars with a chance to make an early impression.
“We’ll certainly be very young for the games but it will be a good opportunity to see the younger boys who will be with us next season,” he told youtube.com/southamptonfc.
“Obviously we’ll be going to a few different clubs and a few different places with teams up north.
“It’ll be good to get a few fresh challenges and fresh teams to play against.”
The game against Swansea comes after a break following the completion of the regular season and Fleming believes that may have come at the wrong time for his squad.
“It’s probably not been the best thing for us because the last performance, against a decent side in Leicester City, was a good one,” he added.
“We were very young but we showed a lot of spirit and the defensive work we had done paid dividends. We looked hard to beat.”
And what is Fleming expecting from the Swans this weekend? “They’ll be hard to beat and tough to break down,” he explained.
“This is their first year at this level I believe and their coach said in the home game earlier in the season they found it difficult.
“But just before the Youth Cup, when we were very young, they turned us over quite comfortably, so it should be a good test.”